The Rite of Mars by Fr. Bromios, 2001

by Fr. Bromios, 2001 e.v.

Officers

Brother Sol in Aries. Dressed (at first) as the God Sol Invictus / Mithras, white waistcloth with gold trim, staff, serpent, solar lion-head mask.

(Julian) Brother Mars. Red Toga, Sword.

(Nike, Aphrodite, Cybele) Sister Scorpio. Green Toga, Sword.

(Athena, Sophia) Sister Aries. Violet Toga, Spear, Helmet, Ægis

(Bishop Eusebius) Brother Capricornus. Black Robe, Cross (the "god on a stick").

A guard of Probationers. (at least 6, with Roman scuta and gladii or hastæ).

Mars is throned in the South,
Scorpio on his right,
Aries on his left.
Behind Mars' throne is the Wolf — Romulus & Remus, and the SPQR

Above and behind thrones of Scorpio & Aries (ie, flanking the SPQR) are great Chi-Rho's.

In the East is also a veil, behind which is Sol in Aries.
In the North is Capricornus enthroned.
Behind him is a large white [planetary symbol for Saturn] on a black background, the cross of the symbol being a crucifix.

In the center is the altar, covered at first with a Xtian altar cloth.
Mars sits with legs crossed as in Atu IV. All wear the Chi-Rho about their necks.

The Rite of Mars

Eusebius

[4444-1].

Athena

[1-4444].

Mars reads the Twelvefold Affirmation from 963.
When done, Mars, Scorpio and Aries rise, cross themselves, and kneel before the altar in an attitude of prayer.
Mars recites the 91st Psalm of David.

Athena

Let the sacred perfume be kindled upon the Altar of the Lord God of Hosts.

(Done)

Cybele

Hail Flavius Claudius Julianus Cæsar, Master of the Battle!

Athena

Hail Flavius Claudius Julianus Cæsar, Lord of the Legions!

Eusebius

Hail Flavius Claudius Julianus Cæsar, Defender of the Faith!

Cybele

Hail Flavius Claudius Julianus, Augustus!

Julian

No!

Athena

Hail Flavius Claudius Julianus, Augustus!

Julian

No!

Probationers

Hail Flavius Claudius Julianus, Augustus!

Julian

(Rising)

No!

Cybele

They will not listen, Cæsar. They mean you to be their Emperor.

Athena

The leaden yoke that is your cousin's rueful reign, Constantius' court, weighs all too heavy and too long upon their backs.

Cybele

That Tyrant's victoried vice they hate as much as they love your virtue.

Julian

Yet their love for me shall be, as for us all, my certain death. Let them repent, and to their tents return! For I shall be no Emperor, who was meant for study and philosophy.

Cybele

And yet, as Cæsar of the West, your love of Truth and Justice starkly stands against Constantius' greed; your arms defend the weak against the fury from across the Rhine.

Athena

You've earned their love and loyalty as has your cousin now their desperate dread and hate.

Probationers

Hail Julian, Emperor of the Romans!

Julian

Alas, alas, there is no turning back. My death is certain now, for to refuse the diadem is doom. To take it up is doom no less. My fellow soldiers, hail! Your love for me, I fear, has damned us all.

And do my loyal legions ready stand?

Athena

Prepared, Augustus Cæsar, and arrayed in martial order 'round the altar drawn.

Julian

Eusebius, most noble Bishop, pray for me, pray with me now, as you would once when I a helpless orphan child was sent for my well-being into your Christian care, while Christian mercy and the Eunuchs pale that haunt New Rome across the Bosporus did bleed old Rome of all ther finest blood, that blood by fratricidal fury spilt by all the sons of Constantine. Thus, pray for me, pray with me now, for one — last — time.

Eusebius

(Suspicious of Julian)

Almighty God, be merciful to him your servant now before you, and on him bestow true piety, and let him not forget his forefathers' ancestral faith, that blessed the happy house of Constantine, Defender of the Faith! Amen.

All

Amen.

Julian

Let maiden wisdom now for us perform the Invocation of the Holy Fire.

Athena goes to altar, lifts censer, pulls off altar cloth to reveal the altar of Mars.
Eusebius gasps, crosses himself and backs away.
Athena replaces the censer and casts Dragonsblood on the coals.

Athena

Lord God of Hosts, most mighty, charioteer, gold-helmed, stout-hearted one who bears the shield, savior of cities, clad in bronze, strong-armed yet tireless, and mighty with the spear, Defense of Heaven! Sign of victory in war, ally of Right, stern ruler of rebellion, Duke of righteous men, O King ensceptered, lord of virtue, whirling now your sphere among the shining planets in their seven courses through the æther, where your blazing steeds bear you above the vault of heaven; hear me, Lord, who gives men youth undaunted: Shed a kindly ray upon my life, and strength of war that I may drive the bitter cowardice from out my head and crush the perjured promptings of my soul. Restrain as well the heart's keen fury which provokes me tread the paths of bloody strife; but rather, Blessed One, do grant that I abide in boldness in the harmless laws of peace, avoiding discord and all hate, and all the violent harbingers of death.

Eusebius

(Crosses himself)

Amen.

Cybele

(Crosses herself)

Amen.

Athena

(Crosses herself)

Amen.

Julian

(Begins to cross himself, but stops.)

Sweet Sister, Queen of Muses, Lady fair and Mistress of the Graces, Sister, Hail.

Cybele

Hail, Cæsar!

Julian

You shall lead my legions forth.

Cybele

Now let us bear the sacred symbols round the holy alter of the Lord of Hosts!

All march around 5 times before Julian in procession headed by Cybele, Athena,
and Eusebius all stomping and marching together, clashing their swords & shields together in time, growing from softly at first to louder and more vigorous & impassioned.
All resume stations.

Cybele

Let us invoke the Master of the Battle.

Athena

(Advances, kneels to Julian)

Claudius Julianus, Cæsar of the West, Lord of the Legions of the West, in the name of the Senate and the People of Rome, for the sake of the Empire and the Eternal City, strengthen our arms, encourage our hearts. For we are thy chosen warriors — and you, our chosen Emperor.

Hail, Flavius Claudius Julianus, Emperor of the Romans!

O thou blessed virgin of Wisdom, who defendest the Eternal City from barbarian darkness and impiety, entreat with him, your chosen!

Here Eusebius eyes her and Julian suspiciously, as if unsure what Gods are really being invoked here.

Hail, Flavius Claudius Julianus, Emperor of the Romans!

Eusebius

— and defender of the faith of your fathers!

Cybele

And to what end, the imperial diadem?

Athena

Unto Rome was given the Dominion of the world, to her entrusted all the Arts of War and Peace, all the Arts of Civilized Man, her hereditary right. Roman Liberty, Roman Prosperity, liberally she bestowed these once, like wine overflowing the Cup of her abundance.

And now, behold, Rome "is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."

"For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies."

Behold her now, how she is fallen into Old Age and Misery and Death! Rome now worships only Death and Shame, and has nailed it to the Cross.

The malice of bishops and barbarians of Constantine's New Rome sits like an incubus upon the body of the Old, a leaden shroud of death!

Rome cannot share her Cup, our birthright of the Ages. We need the sword of Martial might, to fight the darkness from beyond frontier and forest, and the darkness from the east within our midst, our minds, our souls, ourselves.

Cybele

And to that end, my fellow soldiers, I pledge my heart, my hand, my sword.

[Tyrtaeus poem here]

Julian

(stands up)

Sing, Goddess, the anger of Peleus' son Achilleus and its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon the Achaians, hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls of heroes, but made of their bodies a feast for the dogs and a banquet for the birds, and the will of Zeus was done.

Since that time when first their stood in division of conflict Atreus' son the lord of war and brilliant Achilleus what god was it then set them together in bitter collision? Zeus' son and Leto's, Apollo, who in anger at the king drove the foul pestilence along the host and the people perished.

Zeus, exalted and mightiest, sky-dwelling in the dark mist, let not the sun go down and disappear into darkness until I have hurled headlong the castle of Priam blazing, and lit the castle gates with the flame's destruction, not until I have broken at the chest the tunic of Hector

torn with the bronze blade, and let many companions about him go headlong into the dust, teeth gripping the groundsoil! As there are not trustworthy oaths between men & lions, nor wolves and lambs have spirit that can be brought to agreement, but forever these hold feelings o hate for each other,

so there can be no love between you and me, nor shall there be oaths between us, but one or the other must fall before them to glut with his blood Ares the god who fights under the shield's guard. Remember every valor of yours, for now the need comes hardest upon you to be a spearman & a bold warrior.

Eusebius becomes increasingly uncomfortable and upset with Julian's speech, until suddenly he starts up and says

Eusebius

Vile pagan fables, and forbidden gods! Have you no piety, have you forgot your faith ancestral, your forefathers' faith, that blessed the happy house of Constantine, Defender of the Faith?

Julian

(fondling his chi-rho, ironically)

Eusebius, most noble bishop, I declare to you upon my sacred word, in all true piety, I'll not, I'll not forget this faith, my own forefathers' faith that blessed the happy house of Constantine, Defender of the Faith!

Cybele

(to Athena)

Hail Sister! Let us crown the Lord of War!

They advance to the altar;
Cybele takes up the diadem & crowns Julian with it.

All

Hail Flavius Claudius Julianus, Emperor of the Romans!

Julian

(ironically)

and Defender of the Faith!

Alas! Alas! there is no turning back. My path is certain now, for to refuse to be onself is doom. This mask of lead is doom still more. Ye Gods Immortal, hail! Your love for me, I see, shall save us all!

Slowly and deliberately Julian removes his chi-rho;
all imitate him, except, of course, Eusebius.

Eusebius, most noble bishop, see! in all true piety I've not, I've not forgotten the forefathers' ancient faith that blessed the happy house of Romulus and Numa, I, defender of the faith!

Eusebius, shocked, gasps & hisses, crossing himself.
All the Chi-Rhos now come down.

Julian

May victory crown your arms!

Probationers

Let us join battle! We conquer! We conquer!

A Probationer or other messenger enters from offstage, and whispers into Cybele's ear.

Cybele

News, my Lord! Constantius is dead! The war is won, before the battle fought!

Eusebius rushes foward and threatens them.

Eusebius

My head is split. The crashing axe Of the agony of things shears through The stupid skull: out spurt the brains. The universe revolves, then cracks, Then roars in dissolution due; And I am counting up the gains And losses of a life afire With dust of thought and dulled desire.

Cybele, as if alarmed at the interruption, flees to the throne of Julian and there with him defies the bishop.
Athena rallies the Probationers.

So, all is over. I admit Futility the lord of will. Life was an episode for me. As for the meanest monad, knit To man by mightier bonds than skill Of subtle-souled psychology. May sever. Aim in chaos? None. The soul rolls senseless as the sun.

THERE ARE NO GODS!

Julian leaps up and goes to the altar with lifted sword

Julian

Silence!

(pause)

There is no God, but the One, the Good, the Beautiful, the True!

Eusebius slinks from the temple.
Athena & Probationers stomp & clash their shields together (25 times)

Julian

This is the day which down the void abysm At the Earth-born's spell yawns for Heaven's despotism, And Conquest is dragged captive through the deep; Love, from its awful throne of patient power In the wise heart, from the last giddy hour Of dead endurance, from the slippery steep, And narrow verge of crag-like agony, springs And folds over the world its healing wings.

Gentleness, Virtue, Wisdom, and Endurance — These are the seals of that most firm assurance Which bars the pit over Destructions's strength; And if, with infirm hand, Eternity, Mother of many acts and hours, should free The serpent that would clasp her with his length, These are the spells by which to reassume An empire o'er the disentangled doom.

To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite; To forgive wrongs darker than death or night; To defy Power, which seems omnipotent; To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates From its own wreck the thing it contemplates; Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent; This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free; This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory!

Athena

Hail to Thee that sailest heavenwards! Hail to Thee in whose eye is a Flame of Fire! Hail, Lord of the Destroying Army!

Julian

Hail, brethren.

Athena

Hail unto Thee, that hast fought at the side of our Lord in the great Battle! Hail unto Thee, our Lady of Tumult! Terrible and beautiful was thou in the midst of the battle, upon thy chariot! Hail unto Thee, as unto thy Lord!

Cybele

Hail, brethren!

Julian

Behold! that Galilean sorcerer of Nazareth, his curse is lifted, and the winter of my uncle Constantine has given way to Mars and Spring, and all the world is utterly made new again. Immortal Gods of our true ancient faith, your altars I rebuild, your temples raise and let your sacrifices blaze again, for godly zeal is proof of piety. Behold, ye Gods of Eld, how I restore the dying world as once it was before.

And ye, Rome's loyal legions, hear me now: may all the Gods and all they have from time immem'rable bestowed upon the Race of Man: all Art and Science, Beauty, Truth, bless all and every one of us! The Cup of Jove has once again been lifted up!

The enemy within the heart subdued, The enemy without still lurks beyond our borders east. Now hear what I propose: As once Achilles long ago imposed his arms on Asia, he Peleus' son, so Pella's son, great Alexander did, and so shall I, the son of Pallas, child of Wisdom, see our empire's future sure.

To Persia!

Cybele

To Persia!

Athena

Let us rejoice in our victory, and victory yet to come! Onward, then, to Persia, whence came the sun-god Mithras, and to Phrygia, the Goddess' home!

Athena leads Probationers in the triumphal dance, which becomes slow and voluptuous.

Athena

[1-4444].

Eusebius

(from offstage)

[4444-1].

Athena dims lights.

Cybele

[Hafiz poem here]

Julian

Seek beauty — for they who seek beauty come nearest to the heart of Truth.

Who is this maiden fair, whom I pursue and woo? Yes, Wingèd Victory you seem to me in Persian dress, reducing me into myself. Or are you rather she, the Queen of Muses, Queen of Triple Grace? Much more than Victory, much more than Love, thou art the Lover of Attis, and thou the Mother of the Gods, the Phrygian Goddess who came to Rome so long ago. Behold and see how Rome now comes to you.

O Mother of gods and men, thou that art the assessor of Zeus and sharest his throne, O source of the intellectual gods, that pursuest thy course with the stainless substance of the intelligible gods; that dost receive from them all the common cause of things and dost thyself bestow it on the intellectual gods;

O life-giving goddess that art the counsel and the providence and the creator of our souls; O thou that lovest great Dionysus, and dists save Attis when exposed at birth, and dist lead him back swhen he had descended into the cave of the nymph;

O thou that givest all good things to the intellectual gods and fillest with all things this sensible world, and with all the rest giveth us all things good!

Do thou grant to all men happiness, and that highest happiness of all, the knowledge of the gods; and grant to the Roman people in general that they may cleanse themselves of the stain of impiety; grant them a blessed lot, and help them to guide their Empire for many thousands of years!

And for myself, grant me as fruit of my worship of thee that I may have true knowledge in the doctrines about the gods. Make me perfect in theurgy. And in all that I undertake, in the affairs of the state and of the army, grant me virtue and good fortune, and that the close of my life may be painless and glorious, in the good hope that it is to you, the gods, that I journey!

Cybele removes his crown.
Eusebius slowly processes in to the almost funereal knell of a church bell,
growing louder and louder, until he is at the throne.

Eusebius

(hissed)

Apostate!

Eusebius withdraws and goes to Athena, who hands him her spear;
he in turn hands it off to a Probationer, who pulls out the chi-rho from his tunic and creeps up behind Julian as Julian recites.

Julian

But thou, O thou, hast risen from the deep! All mortals mourn and weep To see thee, seeing that all love must die Besides thy beauty, see thee and despair! Deadly as thou art fair, I cry for all mankind — they are slain, even as I!

at "I", the Probationer stabs Julian with the spear.

Julian

Brethren in arms, this is not defeat, but victory! For though I be dethroned, not to Me, not to our lady was the glory. For always is the true God hidden — behold!

The veil in the East comes down, revealing Mithras upon the throne of the East.
Julian goes to him and recites:

Julian

Unity uttermost showed, I adore the might of thy breath, Supreme and terrible God Who makest the Gods and death To tremble before thee: — I, I adore thee!

He kneels.

The Sun's resplendent deity I sing, The beauteous offspring of almighty Jove, Who, thro' the vivifying solar fount Within his fabricative mind conceal'd A triad formed of splendid solar gods; From whence the world's all various forms emerg'd From mystic darkness into beauteous light, Perfect, and fool of intellectual goods. Hail! Supermundane king of light divine, And fairest image...

(etc; Taylor's "To APOLLO and the SUN" from his "Julian's Orations")

May he grant, and further may he, of his grace, endow my city with Eternal Life, so far as is possible, and protect Her; and for myself, may he grant that so long as I be permitted to live, I may prosper in my affairs, both human and divine; finally, may he grant me to live and serve the State with my life, so long as it is pleasing to himself and well for me, and expedient for the Roman Empire!

Helios, King of all, be gracious unto me, in recompense for this my zeal! Grant me a virtuous life and more perfect wisdom and inspired intelligence; and when fate wills, the gentlest exit that may be from life, at a fitting hour.

Julian collapses at Mithras' feet.
All prostrate themselves in adoration.

Mithras

The world's great age begins anew, The golden years return, The earth doth like a snake renew Her winter weeds outworn; Heaven smiles, and faiths and empires gleam, Like wrecks of a dissolving dream. A brighter Hellas rears its mountains From waves serener far; A new Peneus rolls his fountains Against the morning star. Where fairer Tempes bloom, there sleep Young Cyclads on a sunnier deep. A loftier Argo cleaves the main, Fraught with a later prize; Another Orpheus sings again, And loves, and weeps, and dies. A new Ulysses leaves once more Calypso for his native shore. Oh, write no more the tale of Troy, If earth Death's scroll must be! Nor mix with Laian rage the joy Which dawns upon the free; Although a subtler Sphinx renew Riddles of death Thebes never knew. Another Athens shall arise, And to remoter time Bequeath, like sunset to the skies, The splendour of its prime; And leave, if nought so bright may live, All earth can take or Heaven can give. Saturn and Love their long repose Shall burst, more bright and good Than all who fell, than One who rose, Than many unsubdued. Not gold, not blood, their altar dowers, But votive tears and symbol flowers. Oh, cease! must hate and death return? Cease! must men kill and die? Cease! drain not to its dregs the urn Of bitter prophecy. The world is weary of the past. Oh, might it die or rest at last!

Athena

1-4444. The battle is indeed fought.

Mithras

333-333. The victory is indeed won.

Athena

Brethren, the Sun is arisen. Let us depart in joy.

Cybele

Let us depart in love.

Julian

Let us depart in peace.

Julian dies.
He is borne out on a litter, Athena at the head, Cybele behind, then the Probationers;
they solemnly process out of the temple except for Mithras and two Probationers, who stop;
the Probationers divest Mithras of his costume, crown him with thorns, and raise the cross behind him, upon which he stretches his arms; his hands bleed.

Lights out.

In Oakland CA, it is
Mon, 23 Oct 2017 9:7 AM.
 

This feature is disabled because you don't have a secure connection.